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Katie Riley, who played in College Cups for both Stanford University and Florida State, has been named an assistant coach for the UC Davis women's soccer team.
Riley, a native of Manteca, is the newest assistant added to new head coach Twila Kaufman's staff. Kaufman said Riley brings key experience as player that will lend to her becoming an outstanding coach.
"She is a very intelligent woman who earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology," Kaufman said. "We view her time spent playing at the elite level, and the knowledge she gained while earning her master's degree in sport psychology as huge advantages to our program."
Riley will assist the Aggie soccer program in conditioning, training sessions, game management and academic affairs.
"Little time has passed since I played college soccer; as a coach I can relate to the challenges my players face and understand their mindset," said Riley. "That experience will help me teach detailed tactics and advanced concepts to the players.
"I vividly remember the soccer cultures I was fortunate to be a part of at Stanford and Florida State, and the endless workstaff and playersput in to rise to the top. It's all very fresh. I am excited to bring these experiences with me as we continue move this program forward at UC Davis."
Riley began her collegiate career at Stanford, earning significant playing time in 2006 as a true freshman. She started 12 games that season as the Cardinal advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Severe knee injuries prevented her from playing the next two seasons but she remained a part of the program; unable to participate during the Cardinal's 2008 Final Four run, Riley returned to the pitch the following season.
"Being injured was the last thing I wanted as a player," said Riley. "I quickly learned how to be resilient and understood that EVERY role on a team matters."
After receiving her undergraduate degree at Stanford, Riley conducted behavioral science research and coached U11 girls' soccer at the Palo Alto Soccer Club for a year before relocating to Tallahassee, Fla., for graduate school.
Riley transferred to Florida State for the 2011 season and found immediate success with the Seminoles. She picked up four assists-two of them game winners-and played in all 25 games as Florida State won 18 and advanced to the College Cup.
Once Riley earned her master's degree in sport psychology, she relocated to Tempe to begin a Ph.D program in physical activity, nutrition & wellness at Arizona State. After completing a year of her program, Riley decided to forego the Ph.D and pursue soccer activities full-time when the Valparaiso Soccer Club selected her to coach its youth academy teams. When not on the field coaching, she worked for a company that organized 6v6 leagues and tournaments across the country.
"I have loved the game of soccer since I was six, and I have never stopped loving it," explained Riley. "I have always been a student of the game; I am very excited for this opportunity to continue to learn from my fellow staff and also transition into a teaching role"
A 2006 graduate of St. Mary's High School in Stockton, SchoolSports.com, named her its California Division I Player of the Year after recording 31 goals and 40 assists as a senior. That season, Riley was selected as the Tri-City League's most valuable player in addition to receiving Bay Area Soccer Player of the Year accolades from High School Sports Magazine.
Throughout Riley's tenure at St. Mary's, the four-year letterwinner and three-year starter led her team to four league championships and two berths in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I finals.
"Hiring Katie is a true blessing to our program and to me personally," said Kaufman. "I have known her for almost 10 years; our paths originally crossed when I attempted to recruit her to my previous institution.
"When I was a high school athlete being recruited, I got to know Twila and nearly went a different college route because of how much I admired her as a coach and a person. I kept in touch with her over the years because of the impact she had on me during that process.I do not think I could work for a better mentor and coach, I cannot tell you how excited I am to join this program," explained Riley.
"Katie's mind for the game caught my attention," Kaufman added. "However, her character and the champion's spirit she possesses always stood out to me most. We stayed in touch over the years and I enjoyed watching her compete in three Final Fours.
"Katie is an unbelievable role model for our players and is a living example of perseverance, character and hope."
Riley joins Robin Grossman who was named as an Aggie assistant coach earlier this week.